Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sarah who went to school with children, studied in the university with other students or worked in an office with white collars. In fact, that doesn’t matter who, how old, and where she was. The thing is that she was kinda different, no matter how, maybe she was a bit taciturn, or liked a special type of food, or followed a separate religion, and because of that, Sarah often got picked on. Just because she was not like everyone else.
Loads of people have been in Sarah’s shoes and got bullied because of the race, religion, social, gender or national differences, and, the chances are that they consider bullies the real villains. In some measure, that is the truth because every person has a choice. However, we would like you to have a look at the issue from a different perspective – the share of social impact on the bullying phenomenon.
Let’s consider any bullying case study in terms of the most popular psychological studies, and Stanford Prison Experiment is one of them. Regular students were placed in jail and were given roles: prisoners and guards. After some time, they got into the characters so much that guards assaulted prisoners psychologically and physically without any hints from the research team, and “convicts” accepted the abuse like normal behavior. After 6 days, the experiment was stopped.
The result of the experiment stated that the reasons for such course of actions were not certain personalities of the participants or predisposition for violence, but the situation and environment were put in. Sounds familiar?
Studying fascism in one of California high schools, students couldn’t understand how German people could have accepted the Nazi regime. In fact, they claimed that they would never join the movement willingly. To prove them wrong, the history teacher promoted some concepts mimicking certain peculiar features of the Nazi regime. After 5 days, the movement following these concepts got out of control, and the teacher gathered a meeting explaining what happened.
Bullying appears as a result of stereotypes and standards set too high. The society itself produces bullies who pick on people refusing to follow the “correct” and approved by the majority rules.
Solomon Asch studied the phenomenon of people following the crowd. His most famous experiments consisted of placing real participants with fake ones. The real subjects of the studies had to give correct answers to different questions, but only after the fake ones had responded first (opting for a wrong variant). During the first sessions, participants answered correctly, but after some rounds, they followed the crowd and chose wrong variants.
As you can see, these experiments prove the social nature of bullying. We don’t protect bullies by any means. We’re just saying that before blaming them for all the evil in the world, you should address bigger issues and raise people’s awareness about something like fakely set social standards if you really want to change the situation. Be smarter than those who follow the crowd.